Before I knew about the word “sketchnote” I had some idea of taking notes and thinking visually. I “bumped” into this idea when I was stuck writing my dissertation and didn’t know where to go with it. I had written out notes tirelessly trying to summarize ideas, arguments, etc, but it wasn’t until I actually sketched the ideas that I had a breakthrough. I have written about that process before, but the main point is that I learned something about myself, the way I think and the way I learn. Drawing, even very simple images, helps my brain make associations that I struggle to do with bare-bones text.
Now, I use this process to create class presentations, as well as a communication tool while I teach. I use it when I take notes during a meeting to help me pay attention, remember key points or just stay awake. I use it when I read books and when I write. In other words, at this point, I sketchnote as often as I can.
I’ve been using this much larger size of paper and loving how much I can fit onto one page. I like this approach because it helps to get the whole picture. Once I have this done I begin writing. It doesn’t always turn out like the sketchnotes but they certainly help to guide the writing process.
During the third of my four weeks off I hit a major wall. I had written three chapters and was at the point that I needed to bring together a variety of key ideas and thinkers and I just couldn’t figure out how they all wove together – not exactly where you want to be this late in the game but that is where I was with it. My advisor, Ryan Bolger (Fuller Seminary), told me I needed to take a day to pray and meditate. This was a time where I needed an “aha” moment and I couldn’t force that to happen. This was not the advice I wanted! I had a week and a half left of the mini-sabbatical the church gave me and I needed to keep working, but he was right, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make it happen.
I had the wonderful opportunity of being included in Mike Rohde’s new Sketchnote Workbook. This book is both beautifully illustrated and really helpful for learning how to use sketchnotes for all the different aspects of you life.